Players Agree To Deferral

Last updated : 29 January 2004 By Kevin Markey

This will guarantee the club gets the £5m needed by 5pm tomorrow to stave off administration and club creditors.

Players' union boss Gordon Taylor said: "This deferral is more than has ever been agreed at any club. It runs into millions. I'm pleased the players' agreement was unanimous.

"No-one can be in any doubt at the players' commitment to the club. These players had every right to expect their contract would be honoured, but this deal makes sure the club can keep going until the end of the season.

"Hopefully the talks with the two consortiums can now go on and Leeds' long-term future can be resolved."

This afternoon's deal is twice as much as the players were expected to agree.

It means Leeds' acting chairman Trevor Birch has more than the £5m needed by Friday to satisfy creditors that the club can survive the season and go ahead with a take-over by local businessmen.

Birch said tonight: "The board understands this has been very difficult for the players and this request was made as an absolute last resort. The players' actions demonstrate their commitment and understanding and gives Leeds United a massive lift as we look towards the rest of the season.

"There are 16 games left for Leeds United to fight for survival in the Premier League. The board, employees, players and supporters should now pull together and do whatever they can to achieve this goal."

Taylor added: "It is an amazing position for a Premiership club to get in. Don't forget it was not the players' fault that Leeds got in such trouble."

A Leeds United statement read:

"The Board of Leeds United plc confirms that it has agreed, subject to documentation, a wage deferral arrangement with all of the football club's professional players to assist the company's cash management.

"Gordon Taylor and Mick McGuire of the PFA met with the club's Finance Director, Neil Robson, and the players this afternoon to discuss the current financial situation at Leeds United. As a result, the players gave their unanimous support to a significant deferral of their wages.

"The Board is now in negotiations with its principal finance creditors to seek a further extension to the existing standstill arrangements to the end of the football season. A further announcement will be made in this regard in due course."